When a Good Samaritan in Texas saw a dog running in traffic, she whistled for him. Michelle Henderson got the friendly, 84 pound dog into her car while he slobbered kisses on her. She brought him to the Dallas pound and gave staff her contact information for his record to make sure he wasn’t killed as she intended to find a foster home for the dog, whom she named Spencer Tracy. After lining up a foster, she called the pound to check on the dog only to learn staff had already killed him. Oops.
But hold up, there’s REASONS:
- In addition to Ms. Henderson, another person had asked to have his/her contact info posted in the dog’s records. Staff did contact that person before killing the pet but didn’t bother contacting Ms. Henderson because “staffers believed the two were the same person.”
- Pound staff decided the dog was unadoptable because he was “shy and withdrawn” and as such, put him on the kill list.
Gosh, a dog acting shy and withdrawn in a cage at a pet killing facility? Weird. Plus the two people asking to be contacted are really the same person. I just know it. No need to call.
Last summer, when the Dallas pound oops-killed a bucket full of kittens who had a foster home lined up, management expressed regret that staff never bothered to call the rescuer who had asked to be contacted about the kittens:
“[S]he should have gotten that phone call, and we’re devastated that we failed her and those animals.”
Several months earlier, the Dallas pound oops-killed 4 dogs slated for rescue and issued a statement which read, in part:
Euthanasia of animals is tough enough for employees. To know that four dogs may have been euthanized in error has devastated staff, and they are also eager to look for ways to prevent incidents like this in the future. We mourn the loss of homeless animals that can be saved. DAS prides itself on caring for thousands of animals that staff members come into contact with each year. The City, DAS and community remain committed to our life-saving efforts and continued progress in this area.
Now it’s a new year but the same old song and dance:
Shelter manager Teresa Cleek apologized for Spencer Tracy’s death in an email to an animal advocate. She called the death “unfortunate” and promised to remind staff of proper procedures.
“We are sorry we failed this pup and appreciate the opportunity for our continued improvement,” she said in the email, which was forwarded to The Dallas Morning News.
Here’s the thing about continued progress and continued improvement – you actually have to have some progress and some improvement to continue. All the Dallas pound seems to have is workers too lazy to give a flying fuck, too willing to kill animals whose records have been flagged with DO NOT KILL notes and management too quick to dispense platitudes about how the staff has all the sads. The Dallas pound staff needs to stop being sorry about failing animals and start doing their jobs. Maybe if they actually sheltered animals instead of killing them, their dogs wouldn’t be “shy and withdrawn” in their cages.